The United Nations has hailed the Supreme Court’s ruling recognising transgenders as a third gender, saying the “historic” judgment will pave the way for reforms that will help the community get access to employment and public services.

Responding to queries on the Supreme Court judgment, spokesperson for U.N, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters at the U.N. on Tuesday that “we welcome the historic ruling” legally upholding the rights of transgender people across India.

“The decision officially recognises a third gender in law and confirms that discrimination on grounds of gender identity is impermissible under the Indian Constitution,” he said.

The Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights has also welcomed the ruling.

In the landmark judgment, the Supreme Court recognised transgenders as the third category of gender along with males and females and directed the Centre and State governments to grant them all facilities, including voter ID, passport, driving licence, medical facilities, reservation in education and jobs in the public sector.

Welcoming the verdict, Amnesty International India said: “A millions lives would improve thanks to the Supreme Court’s recognition of transgender people’s human rights. This ruling has the potential to significantly alter the lives of people who have suffered oppression for years,” said Shashikumar Velath, Programme Director of Amnesty International India.

“It reaffirms constitutional values of inclusion and equality but as long as Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code stays on the books, discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity will remain a threat,” Mr. Velath said.